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One of the first things you need to check is your saddletree. Run your hands on the underside down both bars (with pressure) checking for any cracks or damages. Then set the saddle up on its pommel walk behind the saddle look down from the cantle to the pommel  (see that the cantle and the pommel line-up) this can help you see if the saddle is straight. Have you ever had a saddle that when you were using you had to always shift it to the right or left as you were riding? Lets say itís to the left and you are pushing on the right stirrup to push it over, you feel like your left stirrup is set lower. This is a sign of a twisted tree. If you look at this saddle setting on it's pommel, the cantle would not be straight from the right to left side of the horn. The first photo with the brown being the cantle is what you should see. The second photo is what you could see with a twisted tree.




Check rigging Deeís, make sure they are straight across from each other, this also can give you the feeling to shift your saddle some what like a twisted tree does if they are off. A trainer asked me to come out and check out a saddle for one of his student's that were having some problems. When I met them at the barn, the first thing I wanted to do was check out the horse. First, check around the withers where the front of the bars and pommel are located, looking for GIVEAWAYS OF A BADLY FITTING SADDLE, everything looked good. Then the area above the horseís kidneys and the top of his back, this is where I saw a "TENDER SPOT". Now I really wanted to see the saddle.


They brought out a $5,000+, like new, beautifully tooled (with all the silver) show saddle. First, I set the saddle up on its pommel and checked the bars. One of them had a bad twist, which made it like "photo 2" but worse than that. At this time it didnít make any difference if the saddle fit or not. The tree was no good! I asked them to saddle up the horse and did not tell them what I had seen so far. The trainer saddles up the horse and the 15 year old girl starts riding in a circle. She is riding for about 20 minutes then I point out to the trainer how she is leaning to the left. The trainer said she has a bad habit of leaning to the left and at this point I ask him to look at the cantle of the saddle as she was riding. The right side of the cantle would come down first where the tender spot is taking the blunt of the impact. Then the saddle would kick to the left putting the rider off center. The first thing you need to do is make sure the saddle is right... then see if it fits your horse.



Mark Allen